Stephen M. Silverman
December 31, 2002 01:00 PM

Think you had a bad year? A handful of celebrities apparently shared the misery in 2002, according to a new USA Today poll.

Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Rosie O’Donnell, Britney Spears and Winona Ryder were among the “lucky” stars to top the list. And, in case you forgot why, the newspaper helps remind us:

For Houston, her bad year was perhaps best symbolized by her much-discussed TV interview with Diane Sawyer, in which the pop diva, 39, said she did not use crack, but that she and her husband, Bobby Brown, did use alcohol, cocaine and marijuana.

Jackson’s worst moment had to have been when he dangled his infant son over a Berlin hotel balcony as fans watched below. The incident occurred midway through a California trial where Jackson, 44, took the stand to defend himself against charges of reneging on a contract. Every day at the courthouse brought new and increasingly strange behavior from the Gloved One.

Meanwhile, O’Donnell, 40, altered her Queen of Nice image so radically, according to her Rosie magazine publisher, Gruner + Jahr USA, that it shut down her magazine — after Rosie had already stormed out the door. In May, she left her TV show and officially came out of the closet, though on the bright side, O’Donnell and partner Kelli Carpenter welcomed their first child this year, a girl, Vivi.

Spears, 21, lost boyfriend Justin Timberlake, her financially ailing New York restaurant Nyla, fans in Mexico (after she reportedly flipped the bird to reporters at the airport) and her Pepsi gig (to Beyonce Knowles). Her parents also divorced.

Finally, there’s Ryder, 30, who was convicted of lifting nearly $6,000 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue and sentenced to three years’ probation, 480 hours of community service, counseling and up to $10,000 in fines — and countless jokes about her.

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